Finalists Announced for 2018 Piano Competition

The Semifinals round of the 2018 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition concluded Saturday evening with the selection of Tom Oren (Tel Aviv, Israel), Maxime Sanchez (Toulouse, France) and Isaiah Thompson (West Orange, New Jersey) as Finalists. The three talented pianists will participate in the Competition Finals on December 3 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. At stake will be a guaranteed recording contract with Concord Records along with major scholarships.

The Semifinals pool included thirteen talented young pianists hailing from Estonia, France, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Spain and the United States. Each competitor had the opportunity to perform for 15 minutes before an all-star judging panel. The Finalists chose a variety of compositions ranging from originals to selections from the Great American Songbook:

  • Tom Oren: “Lester Left Town” (Wayne Shorter), “Lush Life” (Billy Strayhorn), “52nd Street Theme” (Thelonious Monk)
  • Maxime Sanchez: “Blue Dog” (Original), “You Are Too Beautiful” (Rogers & Hart), “317 East 32nd Street Theme” (Lennie Tristano)
  • Isaiah Thompson: “Manteca” (Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo), “The IT Department” (Original), “Chelsea Bridge” (Billy Strayhorn)

The Competition Finals will take place on Monday in the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre before an illustrious panel of judges including Monty Alexander, Joanne Brackeen, Cyrus Chestnut, Herbie Hancock, Jason Moran, Danilo Pérez and Renee Rosnes. The evening’s program will consist of performances from Oren, Sanchez and Thompson beginning at 7:30 p.m. followed by an All-Star Gala Concert featuring a tribute to late music icon and Institute supporter Aretha Franklin. The evening will conclude with the presentation of the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award to Institute Advisory Board member Dee Dee Bridgewater, followed by the announcement of the first, second and third place awards.

The Institute congratulates all of the 2018 Competitors on their incredible performances and musicianship, and thanks them for their participation.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Competition Finals at the Kennedy Center.

Click here to learn more about the 2018 Competition.